Rocky Mountain Highlights: It’s A Great Time to Be a White Woman in Colorado (Sort of)

946753_10151659899353792_75155615_nThe Women’s Foundation of Colorado recently released the report, The Status of Women and Girls in Colorado. The Denver Post‘s headline, Report: Colorado women’s economic lives better now than a decade ago made me feel all warm and fuzzy for my former stomping grounds, until I read the opening line, “The lives of women and girls in Colorado have greatly improved in recent decades — especially if the women are white, according to a report released Wednesday by The Women’s Foundation.” [Bold font added.]

As a former Coloradan, I can say that all that sunshine and high altitudes does wonders for a person’s optimism. Maybe because it’s pouring outside of the Lady Economist Headquarters, or maybe because I’ve finally transitioned to the New Yorker I was born to be, but I read this article with one eye brow raised higher than the salesperson at a Colfax dispensary.

As this terrific iconographic shows, Colorado has made great strides in electing women in office. Special shout out to Congresswoman Diana DeGette for her general awesomeness, but as far as economic equality, there’s a long way to go.The report, which based on my perusal, is excellent, has a more somber tone, and emphasizes the major disparities among women in Colorado.

Here are some of the highlights:

– The wage gap has narrowed (by 4 cents) for white women, and widen for women of color.

– In 2011, African-American women had the highest unemployment rate at 12.4 percent (well above the state average for women of 7.8), followed by Latinas at 9.5 percent, white women at 7.4 percent and Asian-American women at 6.6 percent.

– Among African-American women, 46 percent, or 28,173, had incomes at or near the federal poverty line, compared with 48 percent of American Indian women (5,165). Among white women, 22 percent (310,992) were poor or near poor, compared with 25 percent (14,827) of Asian-American women. At the upper end of the economic ladder, women also faced challenges. Colorado ranked low nationally for female representation on corporate boards, the report said.
So, I’ll be cautiously optimism about my favorite swing state. In the meantime, keep voting for those women, Colorado!

Categories: Girl Math, Poverty and Inequality, These United States

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